Fall ’24 UZH Innovathon: The Digitalization of Mobility

How do you envision the future of mobility?

Make your ideas count by joining the UZH Innovathon. An interdisciplinary course for Master students and doctoral candidates based on challenges from industry partners.

Work across disciplines for real digital mobility solutions

Learn for your future

The Innovathon is not just a special course, it’s an open innovation format. Learn hands on how to approach a real world challenge with an interdisciplinary team. In this course students can expect to learn about mobility needs and patterns as well as challenges of mobility systems, develop their innovation skills and critical-thinking competence and improve their skills for effective communication and presentation to a diverse audience.

The Innovathon offers a unique learning experience and the chance for participants to grow their network within a future-oriented topic.

Develop solutions to real world challenges

The digitalization is transforming various areas of mobility, from individual mobility via urban mobility to systems mobility. Thus, the future of mobility is expected to be connected, (partly) autonomous, post-fossil, and clean, with benefits for health, environmental sustainability, and the economy. It will include service platforms for seamless public transport, drones, and autonomous cars.

However, challenges and opportunities arise from the digitalization of mobility. In this Innovathon, interdisciplinary student teams will deploy their knowledge and develop innovative solutions (e.g., product or service concepts) related to those challenges and opportunities. Teams then present their ideas to an expert panel. Solutions developed can be either tech-enabled (e.g. new software) or human-enabled (e.g. new processes, practices).

The Innovathon offers a unique learning experience and the chance for participants to grow their network within a future-oriented topic. Students will learn to understand the challenges of interdisciplinary teamwork and approaches to overcome them. They will experience co-creation with their teams and challenge partners.

With researchers from the Digital Society Initiative Mobility community

The Innovathon is organized in a collaboration between the UZH Innovation Hub and the Digital Society Initiative (DSI) Mobility community, a research community that studies different aspects of the transformation to a digital mobiliy. Researchers from the community support the students in diving into the interdisciplinary nature of the challenge topics during the interactive teaching sessions. Selected researchers will also serve as mentors during the concept development.  The mentors represent various disciplines including data science, law, ethics, geography, medical and health sciences and economics.

DSI Mobility community

Develop innovative ideas during the design sprint

In this intense course you will go from diving deep into fascinating digitalization challenges to presenting innovative solutions to a panel of researchers and practice partners. With your team you will develop ideas in a structured innovation format, the design sprint. This format has been designed to empower teams to tackle big problems and develop innovative ideas in a short time. Working together in a sprint, you can shortcut the endless-debate cycle and compress months of time into a single week.

To make the most out of the innovation process, students get access to a specially designed manual booklet. Experienced innovation facilitators are around during the whole design sprint to guide the teams in the different steps from discovery to prototyping, testing and presentation.

Experience innovation at Ginetta

An inspiring space can do wonders in supporting creative teamwork. We are grateful to partner with Ginetta for Innovathon 2024, offering our team workspace with that little extra!

The student teams joining the Innovathon will be welcomed in a creative, open office space that optimally supports teamwork for structured innovation processes.

Programm and Application

Teaching sessions, Sept 12th 1 – 5 pm & Sept 13th 9 am – 5 pm

During the Teaching sessions, researchers from the DSI Mobility community will support the students to get a deep dive deep into the various aspects of the digitalization of mobility

Challenge introduction, Sept 17th 4.15 – 7 pm

Get to know the challenges and get prepared for the Innovathon weekend.

Innovathon weekend Sept 19st 4.15 – 7 pm,  Sept 20st 9 am – 7 pm, Sept  21st  9 am – 2.45 pm

The Innovathon weekend makes up a centerpiece of the course, during which the student teams work in an inspiring atmosphere to develop prototypes to test their concepts with relevant stakeholders. The full weekend is hosted in the Ginetta office. Food and drink are provided (free of charge for all registered participants) throughout the weekend.

Solution refinement, Sept 24th 4.15 – 7 pm

Reflect on the input you got from testing your prototype and build this into your presentation. Improve your presentation to cover all aspects necessary for the final pitch event.

Final presentations, Oct 1st 4.15 – 7 pm

Present your solution to a panel of researchers and challenge partner representatives.

Wrapup & Next steps, Oct 4th 4.15 – 7 pm

Review, give Feedback and share insights. Talk to the challenge partners, researchers and the other students teams about how your developed concept could be moved forward.

Target group and ECTS credits

This course targets Master students and doctoral candidates across all UZH faculties interested in the digitalization of mobility and motivated to develop ideas based on real world challenges. Applying students should have an aptitude for teamwork and be motivated to learn how to apply innovation methods and work successfully in interdisciplinary teams.

The course is eligible for 3 ECTS credits. Students from ETH Zurich will get a certificate of participation.

Not all study programs are currently cross-listing this module. But many UZH study programs have a defined number of credit point, that can be filled with any course of UZH (e.g. free elective area/ freier Wahlbereich). For this, the 3 ECTS from the Innovathon may be used. Faculty-specific information on the eligibility can be found on the homepage of the School for Transdisciplinary Studies, where the Innovathon is hosted. In case of uncertainty, students can contact their study administration office to clarify if they can count the ECTS from the Innovathon for their study program.

How to apply

You can apply for this course via the UZH course catalogue as soon as the booking period starts.

ETH students please apply with a short description of your personal motivation in a few sentences (max half page) via email to digital@innovation.uzh.ch.

Contact us

Contact the course organizers to learn more about the Innovathon in 2024.

Partners of Innovathon 2024

Selected partners for digitalization challenges and innovation space


As a pioneer, Swisscom is driving innovation forward and shaping the digital progress of our country. With simple and secure solutions, Swisscom enables everyone in Switzerland to discover and easily utilise the opportunities of the networked world.

Post Company Cars

Post Company Cars Ltd is a partner to numerous Swiss SMEs for efficient and sustainable fleet management with a focus on full-service leasing. It is Switzerland’s largest independent fleet manager, a leader in mobility solutions with long-standing expertise in e-mobility.

Division of Business and Economic Development and Innovation Zurich

The Division of Business and Economic Development supports resident companies, promotes Zurich’s innovation capacity by way of connecting the relevant stakeholders in key industries, fosters external economic relations and offers guidance to companies interested in moving to Zurich.

With Innovation Zurich, we aim to promote networking, offer guidance and provide an overview of news and events relating to innovation in the Canton of Zurich.  We work in close collaboration with a range of partners in the respective ecosystems, serving in a neutral capacity and without any commercial intent.  This is how we strive to contribute to the innovation ecosystem in Zurich as a business location, and to initiate future projects in seminal technologies and key industries.

Innovation Park Zürich

The specialists behind Innovation Park Zurich utilize their knowledge and experience to facilitate the emergence of something extraordinary in Dübendorf. We foster collaboration between the science and business sectors, promote the transfer of knowledge and technology and connect the appropriate partners. In summary, we create optimal conditions for innovation to thrive.


Ginetta is a Digital Agency that helps winning brands grow their business by building fast, simple, and beautiful digital products. Since its founding in 2008, Ginetta’s team has become true experts in digital strategy, UX design and software engineering. The portfolio includes some of the most advanced web and mobile apps in Switzerland, including SBB, Twint, IKEA, PostFinance, ZKB and Doodle.